HR efforts need to refocus and continuously evolve its role as a business partner and constantly ‘listen' to the voice of the employee
What in your view is driving transformation of HR?
The recession was a tipping point for most organizations which are now re-inventing themselves. Quality, cost, productivity and efficiency, have become an integral part of the sustained culture in most progressive organizations. This is impacting all aspects of business including HR, and in a service organization which is people-driven, the drive for HR transformation is accelerating at a very different momentum.
What will transform HR? Is it the way companies approach HR strategy or execute HR operations?
The role of HR is to support the ever growing demands of business strategy. The strategy to executive cycle time is shortening today. Hence, the way we flawlessly execute HR operations to support business demands will be critical in transforming HR.
What critical roles is HR spending time on today? Is there a need to change focus and what models can HR adopt to stop doing what it is doing and switch focus to something more important?
HR teams continue to spend a lot of time on activity-based, transactional work. Instead HR efforts need to refocus and continuously evolve its role as a business partner and constantly ‘listen’ to the voice of the employee. Increasingly HR needs to balance employee aspirations and organizational needs and demands to ensure that both are safeguarded. This role as a business partner undergoes constant change as the needs of the organization and the employees evolve very rapidly.
HR teams need to ‘let go’ of transactional work and take on the role to support organizations with strategic inputs towards business plans. It is increasingly becoming evident that external capabilities in managing transactional work are far more superior as opposed to internal capabilities. Moreover, focusing on analytics and insights instead of process or database management will significantly impact HR transformation.
Progressive organizations have a balanced equation between transactional work and high touch roles in HR. There is enough maturity in the leadership to acknowledge that external capabilities can deliver better services with regard to transactional work, whereas high touch roles such as culture building, performance management, building talent and leadership pipeline, employee value proposition etc need to be managed internally.
What is HR’s new role in this context? How can HR justify its existence if most activities can be outsourced?
The role of HR will undergo the following changes:
1- The HR team will need to focus on understanding business realities and influence leadership to ensure greater involvement in strategic decision-making. The stage for this is now set as the workforce is evidently the greatest asset for any company.
2- HR will need to adopt a multi-dimensional solution process approach to any business reality. For example, when looking at attrition, HR cannot look at one process alone but we will need to look at an integrated solution that focuses on profiling, employer branding, compensation philosophy, career management etc.
3- HR will focus on servicing stakeholders in an integrated approach. For example, HR will be increasingly involved in providing a greater experience to its customer through by creating the right interface with their employees.
4- In new organizations, the number of people in the HR team will also reduce and that will mean more involvement and ownership of HR processes and actions by the line management.
What are the new competencies required for HR? How ready is HR today for this new role?
Going forward, the following six new competencies will be required for HR teams:
- Deep business understanding and alignment to internal customers
- Organizational building and change management
- Process and service excellence
- HR advocacy
- Coaching and mentoring
- Creation of/ reinforcing values and culture
These competencies are core to the new HR function. Currently there is a gap between current competencies and the future requirement but the awareness of this gap is increasing and so are the steps to narrow this gap.